Last fall when the SEC officially announced Texas A&M and Missouri would join the conference it seemed to far away to comprehend. For the first time in 20 years the conference was expanding and most SEC fans hadn’t fully accepted both Arkansas and South Carolina into the conference, yet alone adding two additional teams. Last week coaches from both A&M and Mizzou made their first appearances with the rest of the SEC and the Spring meetings and signifying change was right around the corner.
I will leave Mizzou out of the conversation for the moment only because I think most of you reading this is only interested in the SEC west. The addition of A&M opens up a new market for the conference. With out A&M, the other five state have a combined population count of roughly 15.29 million. Texas alone is at 25.69. Basically the talent pool in recruiting more than doubled by the team from Texas.
I went to the rival.com website just to see how well the SEC west teams has faired in recruiting Texas over the past ten (2002-2012) and I think the numbers might surprise you.
|Schools||# of Texas recruits|
I was shocked at how low the numbers were excluding LSU and Arkansas. The other schools utilized their own in-state talent and recruited hard in Florida and Georgia, but isn’t Texas a recruiting gold mine? How is it that Ole Miss has only signed eight players from the lone star state, but during that same span signed 10 players from California and Arizona?
Also surprising is the number of players A&M has signed out of the SEC over the past decade. The Aggies signed 20 players from Louisiana and Mississippi during that span. How will playing in Alabama, Florida and Georgia improve A&M’s teams?
The question is what does this all mean and will this trend continue or move in another direction. The obvious answer would be the numbers increasing by all teams since each will be playing A&M annually and he Aggies will travel throughout the deep south annually.
The quick answer would be that the rich are only going to get richer with the new recruiting opportunities emerging. The one thing I want to monitor is how the Mississippi schools, who have the smallest population of all the states, take advantage of the new market.